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Ashe and Wilkes Teachers Win Bright Ideas Grants from Blue Ridge Energy
Exciting, hands-on learning projects are coming to local classrooms thanks to $7,747 in Bright Ideas grants awarded recently by Blue Ridge Energy to educators during a special virtual celebration honoring winning teachers and their schools. Bright Ideas is an academic grants program sponsored annually by Blue Ridge Energy. Bright Ideas grants help further traditional academic learning by funding innovative scholastic projects that go beyond available school funding.
For its 26th year of grant making, Blue Ridge Energy is awarding $25,139 to 28 classrooms in its service area of Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes and Avery counties. To date, Blue Ridge Energy has awarded more than $544,000 in Bright Ideas classroom grants that has impacted over 100,000 local students and teachers.
Ashe/Wilkes counties grant winning teachers are:
Alexandra Miller, Westwood Elementary, for “Growing Minds Growing Plants.” This $250 grant will improve garden beds started in 2019 to construct raised garden beds and add support for covered hoops. The project helps students work together to solve problems and learn long-term planning.
Sara Lambert, Westwood Elementary, for “Pass the Mic!” The grant for $816 will purchase a Qball, a padded microphone that looks like a ball and can be treated as such. Using the Qball will encourage students to interact in a game-like format while social distancing. Qball will strengthen the social/emotional health of students as it shows that every voice matters.
Kevin Miller, Westwood Elementary, for “I’ll Take P.E. to Go Please.” This $750 grant will enable the students enrolled in remote learning an opportunity to have equipment and online guidance.
Mazie Sullivan, Westwood Elementary, for “Rockin Robots.” The grant for $1,220 will purchase six Dash robots with xylophone attachments. Music class will never look or sound the same after students code and compose with Dash robots!
Taylor Hinrichs, Westwood Elementary, for “Stop Being So-So and Start Using Osmo.” This $1,267 grant will purchase a technology-based project that incorporates mathematics and phonics skills. Students will use an iPad with the Osmo device for applications that teach real-life problem solving skills and curriculum-based goals.
Katherine Greene, Ashe County High School, for “Art in the Home: Equality with Art Supplies.” This $1,499 grant will be used to provide quality art supplies to each student enrolled in one of the visual arts courses offered with Ashe online learning.
Makayla Spencer, Westwood Elementary, for “Quilting the Curriculum.” This $191 grant will fund a collaborative project for 2nd and 4th grade students that incorporates art into social studies and math curriculum with creation of a Freedom Barn quilt mural.
Ruth Turnmire, Mountain View Elementary, for “Ready-Set-R.E.A.D. (Reading, Engaging, Achieving, Discovering).” This $1,496 grant will provide families of at-risk readers and English learners with interactive literacy kits that spark creativity and actively connect children with texts.
Janet St. John, Wilkesboro Elementary, for “Consent.” This $258 grant will purchase a selection of books about sensitive issues such as child abuse and neglect to help students learn how to better identify consent issues and to also help school counselors and teachers meet the need of students.
According to Ashe District Manager Tasha Rountree, these winning teachers are also helping their schools as Blue Ridge Energy is awarding an additional $150 to each of their schools to assist with COVID-related teaching challenges. “This is a unique time for our students and educators. I’m pleased and proud that Blue Ridge is able to fund creative classroom ideas and provide a little help to each of the winning schools.” Rountree explained.
Blue Ridge Energy is part of several North Carolina electric cooperatives providing Bright Ideas grants. Together, they have provided more than $12.9 million for classroom projects impacting over 2.5 million students in North Carolina.
Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 76,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Alexander and Wilkes counties. To learn more about the Bright Ideas grants program, visit Blue Ridge Energy’s web site at www.BlueRidgeEnergy.com or contact your local Blue Ridge Energy office.